The article titled, "Does your website reflect what the market really wants?" was published on 19 Jun, 2013 by Peter C. Yesawich in Hotel and Motel Management
"What features and functions do travelers truly value in websites that promote the sale of travel services? The answers may surprise you.
According to the MMGY Global 2013 Portrait of American Travelers, three of the five most desirable website features relate to the price/value of travel services: “The ability to check the lowest available fares/rates” (83 percent), “a lowest price/rate guarantee”(80 percent), and “the ability to compare the fares/rates of multiple suppliers” (73 percent). Visual portrayals of the product/experience also make the top five: “Photos of the hotel and resort facilities” (78 percent). Convenience is also cited as a very desirable attribute: “Having an easy-to-use booking feature” (74 percent).
Other visual content attributes cluster in the second tier of preference, cited by roughly seven out of ten travelers who plan/book online. These include “photos of the area” (73 percent) and “the ability to preview room locations” (68 percent).
The “ability to check last minute air, hotel and car-rental availability” is valued by two thirds (62 percent) of leisure travelers who plan/book online, as is the “ability to download coupons for savings” (58 percent).
User-generated reviews that feature commentary from travelers who have had a personal experience with a specific travel service supplier are valued by just over half (51 percent) of all travelers.
Three out of ten (30 percent) cite mobile apps and social functions such as the ability to share photos and personal experiences (28 percent). Links to the leading social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are cited by just one out of four.
Travelers who use the Internet to obtain travel information and/or make reservations are generally less likely to consider several website attributes very/extremely desirable today versus just two years ago. The attributes for which the greatest differences (>10 percent) have been observed include:
- Email notification of travel specials and discounts when they become available (14 percent);
- The ability to download coupons for savings on air tickets, hotel rooms, rental car services or vacation packages (11 percent);
- Virtual video tours of the hotel and resort facilities (10 percent);
- Virtual video tours of the area (10 percent);
- Being able to download and print promotional literature and brochures from the website (10 percent).